Single parent business owners are most likely to work on bank holidays

New research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found that single parent business owners work some of the longest hours in the country and are 20% more likely to be working this bank holiday than the average small business owner.

Two in five single-parent business owners (40%) say they always work on a bank holiday, whilst a further 48% say they have worked on the bank holiday on occasion. This was higher than the national average (33%), and almost twice as high at the average female business owner (25%)[1].

More broadly, asking about the average number of hours worked each week, the research found that single parents business owners worked an hour and a half more than the average business owner. In fact, only entrepreneurs with more than one business and ex-military business owners put in more hours, while single parents worked longer hours than the average family run business, and almost 5 hours a week longer than the average female business owner.

Overall, 63% of single parent business owners work more than the standard 35-hour week (compared with the national average of 60%) – working on average a 36 hour week (compared with 35 hours a week on average for business owners – full-time and part time combined). One in 10 say they do a 50 hour week, while 4% say they do a 60 hour week.

Joanna Morris, Head of Marketing & Insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, commented: “At a time of unprecedented anxiety and market uncertainty, understanding outlook from the small business community has never been more important – and our research suggests that we need to look beyond industry sector or size to fully appreciate the variety of ways small business owners are thinking and reacting to current issues. Our latest research suggests that single parent business owners are working through bank holidays, many juggling the pressures of home and family life and unable to take the extra day off.”

“Hitachi Capital Business Finance understands that every single business owner faces a variety of challenges – some unique to them. Tailoring a service that acknowledges this is key to helping them to grow in the long term.”

Proportion of small business owners that say they always work on a bank holiday (by demographic profile group)

For HR consultant and business owner, Laura Callahan, starting her own business was also the start of a new life. Having worked as in HR in-house for many years, in 2016 she had an epiphany and decided to leave her job, marriage, sell her house and start her own business. Four years on, Laura employs two people, has a strong and growing turnover and is devoted mother to two children ages 6 and 4. Laura says:” My biggest philosophy is in order to be productive you need to be flexible – whether that means managing your time around the children, or being more flexible with employees – we are all human beings and have lives outside work, there is no reason that you can’t manage your business life around these commitments”.

She continues: “However, that is not to say it is plain sailing. I have grown used to managing my time well to be there for my children as well as providing for them and my staff financially. I sometimes get up at 6am to do some work before the children wake up so I can be there for breakfast, and I always make sure I am there to put them to bed, so sometimes I have meetings with my staff who are also working mums after the children have gone to bed, because it fits our family schedule. It’s not about the 9-5, it’s about trust and flexibility.”

Laura is a huge advocate of going into any project with an open mind, she adds,” Having a bit of confidence and self-belief is crucial to success as you have to weather the highs and the lows by yourself and find the motivation within yourself. I had no idea whether my business was going to work, so just in case, I set aside three months’ money to cover the bills, and told myself that if I got to the end of that money, I would find a full-time job again. Luckily, I didn’t get to that point, but setting that goal or challenge to myself really did push me on.”

Single Parent40%
Online business38%
People that own/run more than one business38%
LGBTQ or Transgender38%
Family owned36%
Ex-military / veteran35%
Non-rural33%
Rural31%
Previously worked for a large company31%
Male38%
Female26%
National average of business owner33%

Average number of hours worked (Business owners, part-time and full-time)

Ex-military43.70
People that own/run more than one business36.64
LGBTQ or Transgender36.36
Single parent36.34
Family owned36.04
Female Business owners (total)31.51
Male Business owners (total)37.00
Average Owner35.06

Julie Hawkins, owner of KIH Products and Founder of the Single Mums Business Network says, “I work on average around 56 hours a week. It has to be fit around school hours, when you can get childcare, in the evening, at the weekend. Many single parents business owners do not give themselves enough credit for when they are working because most find it hard to recognise what is work and what is downtime. Flexibility is the key factor in setting up a business, and the ability to work from home. The alternatives are to take a job way below your skill set/pay grade with better hours, or look at jobseekers/benefits – for this reason setting up a business is a great option.

“I didn’t set up the business to make a huge amount of money, moreover, to provide a useful service that would make a difference in some way. I can also still put the children first and have managed to successfully juggle the demands of family life as a single parent and run a business. If I can do it, anyone can!”

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